Tag Archives: Urban Hikes

Rooster Rock (Winter 2019)

Directions: Drive I-84 East to exit 25 and follow the road into Rooster Rock State Park.

After you pass through the pay station go right and head all the way to the end of the parking lot. Pass by the bathrooms and go through the grassy field and take the trail that’s kind of in the middle and goes into the trees, you will quickly pass by a frisbee golf platform. The trail goes on at a fairly level pace through the trees and eventually heads down to the sandy shore.

     

Follow the sandy trail along the river and you’ll see a lot of beaver activity. You will have a good view of the Columbia and the Gorge. Head up the side of the sandy bank and you’ll come to a grassy hill and be close to I-84.  Hike up the hill and you’ll be back in the woods. Follow this trail as it rollercoasters through the trees until you get to an unmarked junction, go right and downhill a bit where you will get back on the trail you came in on. A short distance later you will come out of the woods and be at the grassy field you started on and see the parking lot.

     

Distance: 3 miles (easy)

Elevation: 250 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes seasonally

Parking Fee: $5 entrance fee

Seasons: Technically all but it’s a nude beach and may not be best during the warm months.

Popular: No

Warnings: Part of this hike goes through a nude beach so please be aware.

Powell Butte (Winter 2019)

Directions: This hike starts at the Visitor Center just off of 162nd and Powell in Southeast Portland.

Start off on the paved path that takes you to a junction with the Wild Horse Trail. This trail switches to packed dirt and heads uphill somewhat steeply. You will come to the Summit Lane trail which is gravel, go left and follow it around a bit to yellow post 17.

     

     

Follow this trail through the grass and into the wood, this is now the South Trail. It’s more heavily wooded and a lot less popular back here which is nice. It was a foggy day which was really pretty in the trees. Follow the South Trail down to a junction and get on the Hawthorne Trail. You’ll head back uphill and back out of the woods to Summit Lane. Go left and follow the trail around and to the paved Mountain View Trail. This will take you back down to the parking lot.

     

Distance: 3.5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 350 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Very

Warnings: There have a been a few cougar sightings recently.

Mt. Tabor- Blue Trail (Winter 2019)

Directions: The main parking area is located on about 60th and Salmon in Southeast Portland.

The blue trail starts off to the right of the parking lot just past the basketball court. You’ll wind your way down to a bark chip and dirt trail that eventually drops you back at the road. Cross the road and head downhill past the tennis courts and go right heading around the reservoir. There is a long staircase up the side of a grassy hill, head up it and go left. Take the upper dirt trail around the second reservoir.

     

Cross the road and pick up the trail that will take you to a third reservoir, go around it and head up the paved hill and go right onto the road. Take the trail to the right and head uphill to an intersection. Go left on the lower trail as you head uphill somewhat steeply and come to the top circle. Head around it and go down the trail by the bathrooms that ends at the playground by the parking lot.

     

This time around was very foggy, surprisingly not very many people and quite peaceful. This is always a good go-to hike when you don’t have a lot of time or need something close to home.

There are other trails on this hike so you can add distance if you want.

Distance: 3 miles (easy)

Elevation: 350 miles (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: No

Seasons: All

Popular: Very

Warnings: None

Camassia Natural Area (Spring 2019)

Directions: Drive south from Portland on I-205 to the West Linn Exit # 8 and turn left at the end of the exit ramp. After going under the highway, turn uphill onto Willamette Falls Drive just before the gas station.  (This is the last right turn before coming to the bridge over the Willamette River, so if you find yourself on the bridge, you went too far).  After one block, Willamette Falls Road turns 90 degrees to the left; continue on Willamette Falls Road for .25 mile. Veer right onto Sunset Avenue, which continues uphill, passing over I-205. Take the first right onto Walnut Street, which ends at the preserve entrance and parking area.

It was hard to believe that we hadn’t visited this beautiful area before- it’s amazing!

From the small parking area get on the trail and quickly come to a board with brochures, in it is a map with a self-guided loop. It’s an easy loop that’s very well marked so we will just hit the highlights in this post.

   

The trail is a mix of boardwalk and wood chips which makes for a nice quiet walk. The boardwalk sections take you through marshy/boggy areas that are very green in the spring. There are a few rocky meadow sections that are covered in camas and rosy plectritis, it’s so pretty but very delicate so please stay on the trail and don’t pick any of the flowers.

   

It’s a great place to bird watch as well. We saw a number of birds and there is a large Osprey nest on a cell tower.

   

Later April through early May is the best time to visit if you are hoping to see the flowers but this would be a great place to visit year round.

   

Distance: 1.5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 150 feet (easy

Pet Friendly: No. Dogs are not allowed in this area.

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: None

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes during peak bloom time

Warnings: None

Pittock Mansion Hike (Autumn 2018)

Directions: This hike is located in Downtown Portland on NW 31st and Upshur, just under the Thurman Street Bridge at Lower Macleay Park.

The trail starts under the Thurman Street Bridge and follows along Balch Creek. You’ll cross a bridge and head to a junction at the old Stone House. Continue straight here and cross another bridge before the trail starts to switchback as you make your way up to Cornell Road.

      

Cross Cornell Road and from here you gain elevation more steadily and get a few glimpses of Portland’s industrial area. The rest of the trail is mostly uphill, there are a few small sections with stairs and a good amount of switchbacks. You will finally reach the top where the trail dumps you out into the parking lot for the Pittock Mansion. Go left and follow the path around the mansion to get great views of downtown Portland and Mt. Hood.

      

Head back out the way you came in.

      

Distance: 5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 900 feet (moderate)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Very

Warnings: There is a very small parking area for this busy trail so be prepared to have to find street parking.

Mt. Talbert (Autumn 2018)

Directions: There are multiple parking areas for Mt. Talbert, we chose the main Mather Road Trailhead. To get to this trailhead take I-205 to the Sunnyside Road exit, go East on Sunnyside Road and take a right on 97th. 97th turns into Mather Road and the trailhead is on the right.

There are a lot of intersecting trails on Mt. Talbert but there are posts with a map on each one. For this hike we chose to go about halfway around the Park Loop Trail and then up and over the West Ridge Trail.

From the parking lot head up the dirt and rock trail, you will switchback a couple times and come to an intersection. Go left on the Park Loop Trail and follow it to the next junction where you continue to stay on the Park Loop Trail. At the third intersection go right uphill on the West Ridge Trail. After you get to to the top of the hill stay straight and you’ll head downhill into a more open area with large oak trees and a section of boardwalk.

   

At your next intersection you’ll be back at the Park Loop Trail, go left here and follow it back a short distance to the trail you came up on from the parking lot.

      

There isn’t anything special about this hike but it’s a great option if you don’t have much time or you don’t feel like driving very far. We’re pretty lucky to have a lot of urban hiking options in Portland and the surrounding cities!

      

Distance: 2.25 miles (easy)

Elevation: 300 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Warnings: None

Mt. Tabor- Blue Trail (Summer 2018)

Directions: The main parking area is located on about 60th and Salmon in Southeast Portland.

Find the blue arrow just past the parking area that goes down into a wooded area briefly before you come out and cross the road and head down by the tennis court. Next you will walk around the lower reservoir and head up a gravel path that takes you to the base of a staircase. Head up the steep stairs where you will reach the middle reservoir, take the upper trail around the reservoir and cross the road and find the blue arrow that points you back into a wooded area.

      

The wooded area is short and dumps you out at the small empty reservoir. Walk all the way around it and get on the paved path that takes you up to the road. Follow the road to the path on the right, take this path to the light pole where there is an intersection of trails. Take the trail on the left that heads uphill and is pretty steep. This trail takes you to the top where you walk around the loop and get on the trail by the bathrooms. Heading downhill, crossing the road, and going down the few wooden steps takes you past the playground and back to the parking area.

There are blue arrows marking this whole hike which makes it very easy to follow.

      

We did this hike on the last weekend of summer and we were already noticing the trees starting to change. This would be a great place to go in the coming weeks to see great fall color.

Distance: 3 miles (easy)

Elevation: 350 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Very

Warnings: None

Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge (Summer 2018)

Directions: Take I-205 North to exit 27. Merge onto Highway 14 east and follow it for about 12 miles. Take a right at the sign for Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge.

This is one of our favorite places to go to watch birds and get some quick exercise. We try to get out here multiple times a year and it never disappoints.

      

Get on the gravel trail next to the bathroom and follow it past an open grassy marsh area. You may see a few ducks or geese in the water, we saw a young vole along the grass here on this visit which was a first for us!

      

Next enter a small wooded area and follow the path as you pass along another marsh area to your right and come to a split in the trail. We went through the gate to the left (closed Oct-Apr) and followed the trail as it wound back around to the end of refuge and onto the bike trail. Go right here and pass the Purple Martin houses, following the bike trail for a while until you see a trail off to the right that takes you back into the refuge.

      

Next you’ll come to a bridge over Redtail lake. We saw blue-winged teals, mallards, great blue herons, and bullfrogs. After crossing the bridge follow the trail to another bridge and you’ll be back to the seasonal junction. From here you can head back out the way you came in.

      

Distance: 3 miles (easy)

Elevation: Minimal (easy)

Pet Friendly: No- dogs are not allowed in the refuge

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All- some parts of the refuge are closed Oct-Apr.

Popular: Yes

Warnings: None

Powell Butte (Summer 2018)

Directions: This hike starts at the Visitor Center, just off of 162nd and Powell in Southeast Portland.

From the parking area get on the paved Mountain View Trail, it’s wide and well maintained. In about a quarter mile you’ll come to a junction, go left on the Wildhorse Trail. This trail is packed dirt and can become very dusty in late summer. The Wildhorse Trail winds through tall grass and shrubs to the top of the butte.

      

Go left here on the Summit Lane Trail which is a wide thick gravel trail that’s lined with wooden fencing. The trail winds around the top of the butte and lots of seasonal birds can be seen up here as well as deer. The gravel path will head uphill and meet back up with the paved Mountainview Trail. Go left and follow it downhill and back to the parking area.

      

You get really great views of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens on a clear day and there is usually some type of flower blooming. There are numerous trails around the butte so you can add a lot of variation to your hikes. This is our favorite route for a quick evening hike.

      

Distance: 2.5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 225 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All Ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Very

Warnings: None

Hoyt Arboretum (Spring 2018)

Directions: The Hoyt Arboretum is located in Washington Park near the zoo. The main parking lot and visitor center is on Fairview Blvd.

We did this hike for the purpose of seeing blooming trees (plum, cherry, magnolia, etc.) so we stayed on the east side of the visitor center where there are mostly deciduous trees. You can pick up a map of all the trails at the visitor center.

We started on the Oak Trail and connected to the Wildwood Trail. In here most of the trees just had buds so we continued on the Wildwood Trail and crossed Cascade Dr. to get to the Winter Garden.

      

There were some tulips, daffodils, blooming ground cover and shrubs in this area. We also saw a good amount of trillium which was great.

      

      

Next, we crossed Cascade Drive again and got on the Magnolia Trail. There were a few cherry and plum trees just starting to bloom in this area.

      

We continued on and hooked up with the Hawthorn Trail. Everything was bare here so we decided to head back up to the visitor center. We were here the last week of March and that was probably a week or two early.

      

Distance: 2.5 miles- you can do more or less. (easy)

Elevation: 250 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: Yes

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Warnings: None